Questionable: Back Story

el7 asked:

Say you have a character who had a life defining moment in their past that of course bears on their present because, life defining. How do you handle relaying that to the reader? There always comes a moment when they need to explain it to someone. Is the conversation enough to bring that across or should you go for the flashback? I always feel odd about it because it can break POV to do a flashback, plus I remember that conversation in Jaws where Quint relates a story about surviving a shipwreck during WWII and that was very powerful without resorting to a flashback. But then you have to go to monologue and that’s tricky in its own right. What’s the best way to approach that kind of moment in a narrative?

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